Have you ever used a laptop in a public place, say on a train or in a coffee shop, and worried someone might notice the sensitive material you're looking at? If the answer is yes, then you'll be pleased to know that HP is introducing a way of stopping these shoulder surfers in its upcoming range of laptops.

HP's Sure View screen option will be available on touchscreen versions of the Elitebook 840 and 1040 laptops next month, and on non-touch models in October. Designed in partnership with 3M, the company says the integrated privacy technology will stop "visual hacking," so you can look at all the sensitive spreadsheets/emails/adult material you want while out and about.

3M's physical privacy screen filters have been around for years, but they can be expensive, a pain to attach, and are easily damaged and lost. HP hopes to get round these problems by implementing them into the laptop itself.

The feature is activated by hitting Fn and F2, at which point a special backlight and internal filter will reduce the light output, making the screen appear blacked out when viewing it from an angle of more than about 10 degrees.

Another problem with physical privacy filters is that they can make the screen appear much darker, even when you're sitting directly in front of it. And while this issue is still present when HP's laptop privacy mode is activated, it's far less noticeable.

Right now, Sure View only works with cheaper TN style screens, though HP says it's working to bring the technology to IPS screens and desktop monitors. Pricing for the Sure View option is yet to be decided, but it's thought to be around $75 extra. In some higher-end configurations the fee could be absorbed entirely, said HP.